After initially opening the good stuff at the Yarra Valley Grape Grazing in 2014 as a one off venture, The Wine Bluffs soon found their unique blend of comedy [85%] and wine [15%] was in high demand. From initially only uncorking the show at cellar doors the duo soon found themselves in demand on the corporate circuit where they added their distinctive tailored material to the mix. ‘The Wine Bluffs’ is now one of those rare shows that you can pair with anything.
The show travels well and continues to be a hit at wine & food
festivals such as Borossa Vintage [SA] & Beauvine [WA] but it’s the arts
festivals market that ‘The Wine Bluffs’ has proved a trophy winner.
Sell out seasons at Melbourne  & Adelaide Fringe  has
seen popularity of the duo have to step up to bigger venues for
the 2017 festival season where you’ll be able to see the lads at Perth
Fringeworld, Regional WA Tour, Adelaide Fringe before coming home
to the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Adelaide Fringe will also feature
the world premiere of The Wine Bluffs Bus Tour.
Laying spurious claim to a reputation as renowned wine consultants, the duo, fresh from judging the Fruit Wine Section at The Rockhampton Show, take the audience through the cellar door experience with a comedic twist.
They’ll help you match wine to beer, translate over-written bottle blurbs and identify the biggest Wine Wanker in the room: If you have a wine fridge set on two temperatures it’s probably you.
Over the highly interactive hour Damo will teach you how to read a wine aura and Paul will show off his renowned skills of pairing food to wine. Does New Zealand Sav Blanc really go best with a Rainbow Paddle Pop or is that just a waste of a good Paddle Pop?
Once they feel you are ready to graduate from the ‘Wine Bluffs Wine Academy of Wine’ they will let you test your new-found skills on a ‘Virtual Wine Bus Tour’ you’ll never forget.
Damian Callinan is a multi award-winning stand-up comic, actor and writer. He is best known to TV audiences for his roles on Skithouse and Before The Game as well as regular guest appearances on shows such as Spicks and Specks and the Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala. He is also a regular contributor on 774ABC Melbourne.
However, it’s for his prolific output of live shows that Callinan is best regarded. His most decorated one man show The Merger which earnt him his third nomination for the prestigious Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has just received Screen Australia funding to be made into a feature film to be shot in 2017. His other award winning shows include Sportsman’s Night [Barry Nomination & Best Comedy Melbourne Fringe] Spaznuts [Piece Of Wood Comedians Choice Award at MICF] Proxy Heroes [Barry nomination] and his comedy dance show The Cave the Rave [ABN Amro Edinburgh Foreign Exchange Award]
Callinan is a touring machine: The towns that have not had one of his show posters adorning their bakery shop window are now few and far between. Over the last couple of years he has toured the nation with The Lost WWW1 Diary, which was nominated for Best Comedy at Perth Fringe and earned a planetarium of 5 star reviews and has just been added to the Victorian VCE Playlist for 2017.
His other recent acclaimed national tours have included The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) with State Theatre Company SA: The 5th time Damian has performed this celebrated work and Road Trip with Mickey D and a documentary film crew. The team visited 23 towns, spending 48 hours in each before presenting a 90 minute show based solely on their experience in the community. Damian will be touring with the doco team again in 2017 to create Townfolk: a show about the people that give each town it’s character. His new show Swing Man, which premiered to high acclaim at MICF 2016, will be touring the nation in 2018.
Paul Calleja is one of Australia’s top television comedy writers and performers. He has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows doing stand up and as a guest panelist. His comedic mind is much sought after behind the scenes, which has seen him write for some of the country’s biggest shows and most well known personalities. However Paul’s most treasured experience in the industry was his very short lived role on the Secret Life of Us as the guy behind the counter at the sex shop. Despite the disappointment of this character not getting a spin off series, Paul continues to be a regular on the stand up, TV and radio circuit. His material follows a reasonable logic to bizarre conclusions. Hilariously deadpan.
“A stand-out stand-up comedian”-Fiona Scott-Norman, The Age
“His insights on life are both witty and clever”-Angela Crocombe, Spin Out
“Worked the crowd like a dream”- Barbara Biggs, Herald Sun
|03/11/18||Stirling, SA||The Pocket @ Stirling Fringe|
|Time: 4:30pm. Admission: $28. Address: Mt Barker Rd. Buy Tickets|
|03/12/18||Stirling, SA||The Pocket @ Stirling Fringe|
|Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $28. Address: Mt Barker Rd.|
|03/23/18||Dubbo, NSW||Dubbo Regional Theatre & Convention Centre|
|Time: 7:30pm. Admission: $30.90. Box office: (02) 6801 4378. Address: 155 Darling Street. Venue phone: (02) 6801 4378. Buy Tickets|
Website User Guide
How you use the website is entirely up to you but here are some suggestions based on visitor feedback …
We’ve found that most people who are keen to find out when and where ‘The Wine Bluffs’ are playing next have had most luck clicking on the Gig Guide tab. Similarly, folk who were keen to book the show for an event, festival or theatre season have found the Bookings tab has done the job. If you are sick of hearing us bang on about ourselves in the 3rd person and would like to hear a more subjective opinion then I’d recommend the Testimonials & Reviews tabs. However, if you hate reading and would rather see actual stuff happen then give the Video Clips or Gallery tabs a go. We even cater for those who like human connection by providing a Contact tab.
Events: The Wine Bluffs @ Barossa Vintage Festival
How often do you get to describe someone as professional and fun? The Wine Bluffs, Damian Callinan and Paul Calleja are just that and more! Murray Street Vineyards played host to this dynamic duo as part of our 2015 Barossa Vintage Festival celebrations, where their candid style of humour was perfectly matched to their wine-loving audience. An audience who would emphatically join me in recommending The Wine Bluffs performance, as they help you celebrate the wonderful world of wine.
Event: Specialised Therapeutics Christmas Lunch @ Crown Casino
Just a short note to thank you Damian and Paul for providing such great entertainment for our staff christmas lunch. The feedback we got from staff was all so positive. They loved the way you involved the audience and we could all see you guys were having as much fun as we were. We were racking our brains as to what we could do that our varied group ( admin, sales, marketing, managers and CEO) would all respond to and enjoy and that’s why I think the ‘Wine Bluffs’ concept was perfect – didn’t really matter whether you liked or knew anything about wine actually.
Grab yourself a glass of red, or white if you prefer, and enjoy a entertaining night and some quirky insight into the ideals of wine tasting by The Wine Bluffs. After touring around various wine festivals, including Barossa Vintage and Yarra Valley Grape Grazing, comedy duo Damian Callanan and Paul Calleja give a charmingly laugh-out-loud presentation that will make any inexperienced bloke feel like the expert wine connoisseur they’ve always wanted to be. Travel through Callinan and Calleja’s cellar doors to seamless silly antics and complimentary pop culture punch lines that demonstrate the many talents of these veteran comedians.
Our introduction to these ‘Wine Bluff’s’ knowledge in wine tasting, involved audience participation: to identify the biggest “wine wanker” in the room. Audience members are eliminated in the competition by sitting back down when answering YES to a series of questions by Callinan and Calleja. Last man or woman standing wins the honourable badge of “Wine Wanker.”
Next, Callinan and Calleja describe their history in wines, which have evolved over the years from occasional wine sippers to now holding psychic abilities that identify wine types in the audience and the ability to pair wines with food based on grape varieties. To say that “green grapes,” a variety shouted out last night from an audience member, goes well with McDonald’s French Fries tells you just how expert these comics really are.
But it’s these special interactions with the audience and abilities to improvise without hesitation that make Callinan and Calleja stand out as truly talented comedians. I was surprised to discover other talents from the comics including Callinan’s well- choreographed dance moves to “Footloose,” “Gangnam Style” and “Single Ladies.” He briefly, but hilariously, busts out to these numbers in order to demonstrate a new technique in releasing more oxygen in the wine before tasting. And Paul’s decision to snort a line of red wine for taste, something he claims he’s never done before, proves just how far these comics will go to earn your laughs.
I’m delighted to hear that this show continues running throughout the Melbourne Fringe Festival (every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights) because it would be a shame for people to miss this hilarious spin on wine tasting.
‘Wildly funny wine speak … Dont’ set this one aside. The Wine Bluffs is for drinking, er…laughing now
Don’t let the wine judge rosettes deceive you.
Damian Callinan and Paul Calleja are not sommeliers. The pair know as much about fermented skins, barrel age and tannins as the rest of us, which is not much. But, boy, can they spit out the bull…!
The Wine Bluffs is 65 minutes of wildly funny winespeak, a romp around the vineyard that seeks to demystify the cellar door experience and only leaves us feeling more confused.
Callinan and Calleja swirl around like grapes in a vat, reading wine auras (”Bit of Bundoora there, just a whisper of Northcote”) and doing wine match ups (Chiko Rolls and Moselle, anyone?).
Political wines get an airing — I especially liked the Pauline Hanson red which goes off if it comes near anything foreign — but The Wine Bluffs really hits its stride when the audience gets its hands dirty. Be warned: if you own a two temperature fridge, you might not want to put your hand up.
Don’t set this one aside. The Wine Bluffs is for drinking, er…laughing now.
Melbourne Comedy Festival
‘An irreverent yet clever show … When the hour was up I was genuinely surprised. Time flies when you’re having fun’
Damian Callinan and Paul Calleja have hit on a winning formula with The Wine Bluffs, a stand-up show that lovingly lampoons wine snobbery. These veteran Melbourne comedians have a ready-made audience in anyone who likes a glass or three, though that rare person who doesn’t will also enjoy laughing at the obsessions of oenologists – or wine wankers, as they are described in this irreverent yet clever show.
Callinan and Calleja, who plays the slightly straight guy, are smooth operators who hand each other gags and keep the show moving along at a brisk pace. With glass of wine in hand, they seamlessly segued from one segment to the next, like a morning TV program, but much cheekier, and with a considerably more humble set (essentially two wine barrels; those bottles they filled their glasses from had to sit somewhere).
Their demonstration of swirling wine in the glass became increasingly ostentatious. Calleja gave food-matching advice to audience members who called out wine varieties, offering suggestions such as fairy bread or Chicko rolls (easy laughs that were all in the delivery). Here and there, they threw in tales from their dubious background in the wine industry, including judging the fruit-wine section of the Rockhamption Show and owning a vineyard in the Northern Territory’s Central Desert region.
One of the most enjoyable segments was the search for the biggest wine wanker in the audience. Everyone was invited to stand up, until nearly all were back in their seats, eliminated by criteria such as having cask wine at home, or lacking different glasses for white and red wine. The winner was very unscientifically determined by the quality of their wine storage.
Gentle audience participation throughout was a key to the show’s success, as Callinan and Calleja quickly built up a sense of being part of a tribe. There was plenty of us-and-them humour, from jokes about other cities they had taken The Wine Bluffs, to observations about how wine wankerism has infiltrated some unlikely places.
Almost everything worked well: only Callinan sensing people’s ‘wine auras’ didn’t quite come off, but he made up for it with a surprising finale, demonstrating how a shoe will save the day if you don’t have a corkscrew handy. When the hour was up I was genuinely surprised. Time flies when you’re having fun.
‘It’s funny & silly and good if you’re in on the joke … a ripping show’
Sometimes the best jokes are the ones you crack at your own expense – or let someone crack for you.
The Wine Bluffs holds a mirror up to the hobby of high-end wine appreciation so its practitioners can appreciate just how ridiculous it is.
Damian Callinan and Paul Calleja’s ripping show is drawing a niche audience to the Coopers Malthouse.
It’s not Wil Anderson-style wit, and some of it is designed more for groans than laughs, but it’s funny and silly and good watching if you’re in on the joke. This is definitely not a show for non-wine-types.
Perhaps the funniest moment came during an audience quiz to find the biggest wine wanker of all. At least five members of the crowd had multiple wine fridges, with one gentleman – the winner – storing his claret in an “offsite storage facility”.
‘The pair are a great match & have the comic smarts to turn it into an hour of vintage entertainment’
The wine industry is well and truly ripe for the picking (geddit?) for satirical treatment in a Fringe show.
So, these two masters of wine step up to the tasting table and sniff, swirl and spit their way through 60 minutes of filtering (groan!) through the pretension and artifice.
Damian Callinan and Paul Calleja combine to form the Wine Bluffs. And while they are clearly full bottles (really?) on wine and the wine industry and are able to home in on its inherent flaws and foolishness, they also have the comic smarts to turn it into an hour of vintage (hmmm?) entertainment
Callinan and Calleja arrive in Perth direct from the Rockhampton Show, where they apparently judged the fruit wine section. They also claim to have experience in viticulture with their Central Australian set-up Chateau Outback, so their credentials are impeccable
Their task is to educate the audience in the finer points of wine appreciation, and show off a few tricks along the way. Callinan reads wine “auras” and Calleja is a master of food and wine matching (champagne with banana-flavoured Paddle Pops and Kiwi sauvignon blanc with fairy bread, anyone?)
We also get to go on a wine bus tour and learn a bit of cellar door etiquette. (No orgasmic behaviour in the cellar, please.)
It’s all great fun, and it’s not necessary to be a wine buff to appreciate it, though a bit of wine snobbery might help you earn the title of Wine Wanker for the night and a T-shirt to prove it. And there’s a good chance you’ll be judged (stop!) in some way for your tastes.
Callinan is a veteran of the comedy circuit on screen and stage, and has strong Fringe World form, especially with his one-man tour de force from last year, The Merger, while Calleja is an experienced comedy writer and stand-up performer.
The pair are a great match (enough now!), though Calleja usually plays the straight man to the more flamboyant Callinan, who thrives on the opportunity to show off his character acting talents.
Speaking of talents, Callinan’s party trick in removing a cork from a bottle with little more than a shoe and a hard surface is a show-stopper, even if it doesn’t always work.
Why not pair the Wine Bluffs with your next event, festival or theatre season program. The duos ability to to pair the length, format and content of the show has seen their demand grow on the corporate circuit. They’ve also been able to add some much appreciated levity to the sometimes earnest world of wine and food festivals. It would also inject a unique and interactive brand of comedy into the theatre season of any venue looking for a sure fire hit with an air of faux sophistication. To book or inquire about how the Wine Bluffs can work for you contact Peta Spurling Brown.
The Wine Bluffs have decided to take to the road. In a break out from their live show the boys are putting a new spin on the bus tour’s tyres. Every batch is different but the end result will always be a fruit driven blend of comedy, wine tasting and game playing that will linger long on the palette. Will you be able to insert your secret word into the cellar door discourse? Will your manipulation of an empty wine bladder win you the ‘Pupperty Of The Pinot’ competition? Will your be #winebluffselfie get you banned from facebook for a week? Check out the Gig Guide to book into one of our scheduled tours or Contact us of you’d like us to organize one for you.